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Divine Inspiration: Picturing the Life of Christ

Few individuals have exercised such a powerful grip on the Western imagination as Jesus of Nazareth. Believed by his followers to be the Son of God, he was central to religious life in Europe.

Unsurprisingly, the defining moments of his life figure prominently in Western Art. The drawings and prints in this rotation will explore how various artists from the 14th to the 18th centuries interpreted the key episodes in Christ’s life.

Although well-established conventions dictated many of their representations, the subject matter offered ample opportunities for experimenting with setting, costume and light effects. As the rich array of prints and drawings in this display demonstrates, the creative possibilities of Christ’s story are limitless.

Christ Healing the Sick by Rembrandt

Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Dutch, 1606 – 1669, Christ Healing the Sick (The Hundred Guilder Print), ca. 1649. Etching, engraving, and drypoint, II/II, Plate: 11 x 15 9/16 inches (27.94 x 39.53 cm), Mat: 16 x 21 1/4 inches (40.64 x 53.98 cm). Purchase: William Rockhill Nelson Trust, 36-8.